This stuff can't last
  • Let's say you want to sing a piece once published by GIA but that is no longer in print, so that you can't buy it at any price. You have a enough parts for a choir of 10 but not 14. What do you do?

    You had better have a full-time administrative assistant! Check out GIA's policies on this situation. You have to not only print tons of tiny words and things on there and notify people and send money (don't forget that!) with a minimum paying of $20 and also fill out the online form giving all information you have about yourself and your suspicious activity; you have to also send a copy of what you copied to GIA in ten days or else face death by stoning.

    Another option would be to go elsewhere for your music. It is still, more or less, a free country.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Jeff, it's capitalist economics: the composer chooses to publish his music with a less insane publisher, and GIA makes no money and goes bankrupt (leading to cries for a bailout) because no one will publish with them.
  • I see!
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Another option would be to go elsewhere for your music. It is still, more or less, a free country."

    Gavin, I think Jeffrey meant that people should go elsewhere to GET their music, not to GIA.

    There are many free sources available, by the way.
  • The bigger question, to me at least, is a philosophical one, and that is whether or not this system aids our musical culture or hinders creativity.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    By the way, if the publisher of out-of-print music has gone out of business or can't be found, the money needs to come directly to me, OK?

    Seriously folks, I think this needs to be re-examined. Can you imagine if an energy supplier did that? Like, "Well, we're all out of energy, but if you produce your own, send us money." Or if a grocery store said, "We don't have any more beef, but if you go out and produce your own at your own expense, send us money." ??

    Now some people are going to say, "Ah, but the publisher owned the IDEA of that piece." Here's the problem with that: there is not a single music composition in the WORLD that doesn't borrow and steal and build off all kinds of people's work. Everything: the melodic content, the harmonization, the tunes, the typesetting, the idea of the piece title, the texts, the letters that compose the texts, etc. etc.
    Now, if were were talking about a "completely original work," that would be different. But the bottom line is, composers cannot help but borrow from all kinds of sources. If they think they are writing completely unique works they are deluding themselves. As one of my musicologist professors noted, "There are only 12 tones..." And I say there are only really seven (because 99% of music is diatonic). It is pretty much impossible to make a "completely original" musical work. And the idea that people have to send GIA $0.75 per photocopied page of out-of-print works within 10 days even though GIA is not even bothering to make the work available any more...my goodness!

    The more difficult question is: are there composers who are willing to divide up the money they make from their compositions and send it to the hundreds of composers whose ideas they borrowed and adapted to create their works.

    I am glad I am not a Rory Cooney fan! But I do admire him: the fact that he had the nerve to COPYRIGHT some of the tunes and texts he wrote, my goodness! I am in awe of him for doing that. Any other musician or Catholic would not have wanted the public to know he was the creator of some of those things, but Rory Cooney actually COPYRIGHTED them !!!! He not only admitted that he wrote them, but threatened legal action against people who would copy those works! Remarkable.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Is the music in question really worth this kind of effort? I mean, fer crying out loud.

    The bigger question, to me at least, is a philosophical one, and that is whether or not this system aids our musical culture or hinders creativity.

    If you mean our Catholic musical culture, excellent question.

    Our culture holds musicians cheap. You can buy a guitar at Wal-Mart for a pittance, learn a few chords, and sing at Mass. No one who cares about sacred music speaks up for fear of being labeled a snob. Cantors come and go. The organ gets played or not played. Choirs are half-hearted. Lay enthusiasts become "liturgists" because priests are overworked and soon learn to deal with the pressure by becoming GIA/OCP sheeple. Trivial music then becomes the paid-for norm, and the paid-for norm ("we paid for this!") then serves to suffocate any proposed alternatives.

    This is a sick and oppressive system that should be abandoned immediately.

    There needs to be a means (internet portal?) for skillful composers of sacred music to share excellent sacred music according to the guidelines of the Creative Commons. The challenge is finding a reward system that is not tied to copyright and royalties. In the (immensely creative) past, one such system was patronage. Orlando di Lasso, who was incredibly prolific, was hired to do nothing but direct a chapel and compose. If the Church wants that, its wealthiest members need to find the best composers, pay them well, and put them in a comfortable spot to just compose. Then release everything to the Commons. The composers would be well-compensated for the labor of composition -- not by seeking to control the afterlife (performances, printing, royalties) of that labor.

    Everyone benefits.
  • "recording labels have been hurt by MP3 file-sharing" -- this is not true, at least there is no evidence of it.

    Also, let's try to separate "royalties" from "copyright." A composer can still be paid for music without using conventional copyright.
  • One could argue that retailers and publishers serve as middlemen between composer and public, which technology renders more and more obsolete, in terms of delivery.
  • Yes, that's probably true. In the same sense, conventional bookstores have been hurt by Amazon etc. Just a matter of progress.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,881
    Which piece is it?
  • It was my own hypothetical.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,908
    Well, Jeffrey, you'll be happy to know that after 75 years, there IS no copyright protection of any music. No renewals will be enforced, period.

    So--what to do in the meantime??
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    dad29, that depends. It can actually be 75 years after composer's DEATH.

    Stravinsky changed a few notes in his compositions before the copyright expired so they would last a lot longer
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    I think GIA is being incredibly lazy. I requested an out of print octavo from a publisher and they sent me photocopies with some kind of official stamp on them that said they had been done by the publisher. They charged me full price, which I thought was kind of chintzy, but in retrospect, I guess it was at least an honest way of dealing with the situation. I haven't bought anything from GIA for years. This only re-inforces my resolve not to check out their inventory.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,881
    The composer is not the only entity that can own a composition. A corporation or a trustee or an organization can own it. I am not sure the 75 years after death then applies. Does anyone know?
  • lots of times a composition will say copyright John Doe but it means nothing because the corporation keeps control of it for the life of the composer plus 70 years (in the new law). Composers beware!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,881
    I make it a point NEVER to transfer my right as owner of copyright... and I highly stress the word NEVER. I have done this to the point of not getting published by someone who demands it, but I am sticking to my guns.

    I did do this on a few occasions many years ago, those pieces (and the company) went out of print (and existence), and now I no longer have any control what happens to those pieces. NEVER again.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    I followed the link and smelled a lawyer.
  • "Stravinsky changed a few notes in his compositions before the copyright expired so they would last a lot longer."

    As I understand it, that was to give him legal protection after he left Russia, whose post-revolution international copyright laws were not exactly what you would call trustworthy.